Jul 2, 2019

"Opportunities don't happen, you create them!"

At Ignite Fest
At Ignite Fest

In today’s world, the education system aims to bring in productive methods of teaching and learning process enhancing theoretical knowledge and social/soft skills of a child. When children are given a platform to exhibit their learnings, they appear to be more engaged, more exuberant in demonstrating their knowledge and are motivated to do their best work which boosts their self-confidence.

Bhumi’s volunteers/employees, who are part of the organization’s education program are committed to delivering age-appropriate content to different learning styles and levels every weekend and through the week at shelter homes across India.

The year’s learning culminated with one of Bhumi’s flagship event - Ignite Fest, an annual inter-shelter home education fest. 1,011 children participated from 23 shelter homes, 22 community centers and 3 schools with the support of 207 volunteers who helped organize and execute the event successfully.

Children enthusiastically participated in activities set up by the volunteers and presented models they had created. Working robots, conceptualized models, and live performances made evident that consistent support and exposure, nurturance and opportunities only steer children forward towards a brighter future. Group dance, the ‘dustbin’ robot, and the hydraulic forklift were the highlights of the event.

 “I’m always enthusiastic about creating science projects, but my parents always told me to focus on studies. The community volunteers in my community learning center encouraged and motivated me to participate in ignite fest and show-case my project which was appreciated by many.  When my parent’s heard about this they were very happy and were encouraging me to do such projects in the future too” says Eswaran, a child from one of our community learning center.

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”  
- Hodding Carter, Jr.

Bhumi’s vision, built on creating an equal, influential and socially conscious society, is only getting stronger with every volunteer/tutor stepping in to teach or mentor these children and creating a positive change in their lives. 

Peer learning at Ignite Fest
Peer learning at Ignite Fest
Having fun making robots!
Having fun making robots!
Apr 4, 2019

Classrooms as sensitive and mindful spaces

We live in a time where we prepare our kids to face the unknown. The rapidly changing world barbed around social media has a complex impact on children. Especially young adults, resulting in huge social, economic and environmental challenges. The next generation needs to be equipped with the confidence and adaptive skills to effectively tackle these. We at Bhumi help children from vulnerable households to equip themselves to face such challenges. 

The school transformation programme, conducted by Bhumi, focuses on bringing social-emotional development of teachers and students into the school schedule. The programme is implemented as - 

‘Ready for the World’ - Child Development

A one-year development program for teachers that focuses on changing the teachers’ mindsets and behaviours to enable safe learning environments for children. There are 48 sessions scheduled every academic year under this programme. Creative tools like storytelling, role-play, games, debates, mindfulness, etc are used to enhance interaction and learning.

Children are encouraged to take back home a one-liner of what they have learned in the class. This was reinforced at subsequent sessions to help retention. During support visits by Bhumi, teachers often share their reflections and feedback on the sessions. The workshops help the children develop self-awareness about the socio-economic and cultural surroundings that he/she lives in. The children are encouraged to develop an empathic relationship and a positive mindset towards growth. This enables the children to create a safe learning atmosphere for themselves. 

‘Teachers to Changemakers’ - Teacher Development

A one-year development program for teachers that focuses on changing the teachers’ mindsets and behaviors to enable safe learning environments for children. These workshops and sessions help the teachers and the children to advance their understanding of the world and tackle their daily issues with insight. 

Three workshops are conducted in an academic year for teachers. These workshops help the teachers through their development journey. It provides teachers a platform to become more aware of themselves. It teaches them to be conscious of their actions and their behaviour. The workshops teach them how they can impact and create a warm and positive environment in their classrooms. These workshops not just focus on a teacher's personal well-being but also support to improve students Socio-Emotional Competencies. The workshops help the teachers develop self-esteem and they become empathetic towards their profession.   

Assessments

We conduct baseline and endline assessments to measure the impact of the programme. This is done over a period of 3-4 weeks in June and August of the academic year. The assessment is usually done through observation, and by interacting with the children if needed. This process is then repeated for an endline assessment in March, the end of the academic year. Bhumi plays an important role in and coordinating and capturing the data with utmost accuracy. The data that is then compiled and is reviewed for any exceptions/extremes, which will be discussed with the teachers and the Management. 

From our feedback sessions, we see that our workshops have successfully managed to create self-realization, and leadership skills among both the children and the teachers. The programme started in the academic year 2017-18 with ten schools, focusing children from classes 3 to 9 and their respective teachers. In the current academic year 2018-19, the project is effective in 20 Schools. 14 of which are in Chennai and 6 schools are in Uthiramerur. Currently, over 4,000 students and 122 teachers are beneficiaries of the programme.

Links:

Jan 22, 2019

Learning & Teaching: a Two-way Process

Community Centres Programme Team Meeting
Community Centres Programme Team Meeting

Children growing up in slums experience a childhood with massive social problems associated with urban poverty. For most slum families, educating their children is the last thought on their minds. Every child up to the age of 14 is entitled to free schooling, but the schools they attend are poorly resourced and have low learning outcomes. Bhumi community centres work towards bridging this gap and educating underprivileged children, with the help of passionate community volunteers (tutors).

Bhumi centres work with children between classes 3 to 8, handled by two or three community volunteers (tutors) in their own classrooms of 15 – 20 children in each. 

The centres aim to provide:

  • A safe, positive and healthy environment in after-school centres
  • Academic support to ensure Tamil and English literacy and Mathematical skills are honed age-appropriately
  • A trigger to social consciousness for the young minds
  • A platform to discover and explore one’s individual talents

The volunteer (tutor) selection process is the first step in setting up the centre once the community is finalized. Preference is given to candidates from within the same community. Once they are identified, they become the face of the centre within the community and start the operations.

Typically, the profile of the volunteers is depicted in the images below.

While Bhumi centres work towards the education of children primarily, marking their progress with each new concept, the volunteers’ satisfaction and feedback plays an equally important role in the success of these academic programmes.

Bhumi conducted a survey among the tutors to understand their expectations from the organization, the challenges faced, the utilization of resources by children, the support from the parents, students’ drop-out rates and reason, tutor’s personal impact on working with Bhumi etc. – the analysis is as seen in the graphs. The feedback was a combination of positives and points for improvement. The tutor feedback survey also pointed that learning resources provided by the organization and cluster meetings help in enhancing the learning methodology in turn contributing to better impact of children.

Pavithra and Sharmila, tutors from MS Muthu Nagar community centre, stated that they have frequent parents-teacher meetings to ensure parents are more involved in their child’s learning outcomes. Tutors from Kaninigapuram, Aaduthotti and Vengaivasal shared that timely support received from Bhumi and the tutor meetings/workshops help them tackle challenges, providing them a space to share knowledge with one another for better delivery of the curriculum.

Bhumi’s learning centres give the opportunity to learn, grow and discover their talents and aim to create such an impact where the children of today become the change agents of their own community in the future.

Graph 1: Age Profile
Graph 1: Age Profile
Graph 2: Gender Profile
Graph 2: Gender Profile
Graph 3: Tutor's Feedback - Effectiveness
Graph 3: Tutor's Feedback - Effectiveness
Graph 4: Tutor's Feedback - Satisifaction
Graph 4: Tutor's Feedback - Satisifaction
 
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